By Anthony Hazelwood
The following activity educates a team to defensively transition effectively and stop the opponent from breaking into their attacking third. The specific fitness target is match endurance while adapting the player’s aerobic capacity in an extended small-sided format.
When preparing the activity, if needed, concentration and difficulty levels may be increased by having players execute something extra unique by setting more restrictions. Every activity may be modified, and it is up to the coach to be creative. However, it is important to respect the parameters of the exercise time, the rest, the types of actions used and the weekly periodization of the activity.
Additionally, it is beneficial to train a soccer team and its players with all the elements of the game being present in the session. By doing so, it will promote soccer specific adaptations to the player’s body, mind and emotional triad. Ultimately, these adjustments will enhance their real-time game performances on a physical, emotional, conscious, and subconscious mental level.
Area Size: Full Pitch with a 65 yds. Length X Full Width Area.
Total Activity Time: 20 Minutes.
Activity Time: 9 minutes.
Recovery Interval Time between Sets: 2 minutes.
• Tactical: Transitional Defensive practice – avoid opponents pass into defensive third.
• Fitness: Aerobic Capacity – Match Endurance.
• Technique: Proper fitness and off/on the ball execution/techniques.
• Mental-Emotional: Players fully engaged and concentration is high.
• Concentration Level: High.
• Full Pitch with 65 yd. L x Full Width initial playing area.
• Black team (1-4-3-3) looks to score in 65 x full width pitch.
• Yellow team (1-4-4-2) looks to regain possession to go to goal and score.
• Ball always starts with Black team in the initial playing zone. Throw-ins and corners are always in play in playing area.
• The Black team work to score goals and if they score, they keep ball that is given at the line of cones.
• If the yellow team regains possession of the ball during free play, the black team must perform a high intense pressure to retrieve the ball.
• If the yellow team passes the red line and break into their attacking third and score or the ball goes out of bounds, the play restarts and black team receive ball at red line.
• The objective is for Black team to defensively transition effectively and stop the opponent from breaking into their attacking third.
• Defending tactics is up to the coach, but the work rate to perform this activity when transitioning to defense on a physical level needs to be shows.
• This activity will develop a team’s match endurance potential specifically targeting high pressure defensive attributes on transitional defensive moments.
By Anthony Hazelwood
Coach Anthony is a USSF “A” licensed coach with an M.S. in Sports Training and Nutrition and a B.S. in Physical Education. Currently, he is an Assistant and Sports Performance coach with the Miami FC. He has previous European youth academy coaching experience as a soccer fitness and strength/conditioning assistant coach with Levante U.D. and Getafe SAD in Valencia and Madrid, Spain.